My extensive research for this tip included an invaluable visit to the Safari at Chessington World of adventure!
Nothing too shabby here. No rush of hot air as we got off the plane. The one jumper I came with is gonna get some use!
The residential block of the Holly Order of St Josephs which will be our home for a week.
About to experience my first night under a mosquito net. These cost about a fiver each and can protect a child for five years.
Our first informal briefing at a smart beachside hotel. For the record, the sisters did imbibe but we voted to let them off thier contribution to the kitty.
Our hostess, Sister Veronica, has two mobiles and a laptop and drives thorough Mombassa like Lewis Hamilton. Julie Andrews eat your heart out.
Internet cafe in Mombassa. I checked with them all and none of them had ‘inherited £10m and needed a bank account to process it through’!
Customer Satisfation Index Kenya style. BTW – they did so we did. Ding Dong
Could be Beijing or Bangkok.
A sure sign we are in Africa. Who remembers Daktari?
Private ensuite room with balcony. I stayed in a Travelodge in Newcastle last week that was not up to this standard.
These kids chasing a ball around our compound look far to healthy. Later discovered that the compound incorporates a small fee paying school for no HIV kids.
Over 100 clients are seen here each day. Women, children and men are all given free medication and vital counselling on how to deal with being HIV+ (as we in the sector describe it!)
As a Catholic mission the Sisters face a number of challenges around educating clients about the transmission of HIV. Whilst the clinic itself does not distribute condoms they are able to refer clients to sources of free supplies.
Teachers weave lessons about the importance of diligently taking medication into stories for the children.
Our Swahili lesson was going well until I asked for a translation of ‘how much would it cost to employ you to rebuild that house on my behalf.?’
The team we are working with run this clinic as well as an outreach programme. Client participation and empowerment are key to their work.
Not sure who was more worried as we arrived on site, us or the locals.
Even the most audacious estate agent would be pushed to see the ‘potential’ here.
The plan is to knock down half the house and replace it with a larger space with two rooms. Oh, and they will have to live there whist we do it.
Dig the holes for the uprights.
Put the uprights in place. My vote was to demolish the old part of the house first. Overruled.
Use a machete to split bamboo pole in half and lash them to the uprights. Oh for a pack of cable ties!
OK – so now let’s demolish the old bit and chuck it over the new bit.
Progress at the site was seriously hampered by the lack of good tools so we headed for the shops. This lot came to about the price of Sunday lunch for four at our local pub at home and increased productivity ten found. Meat and two veg anyone?
As Zawadi’s friends help us carry the sand across the valley we are reminded that the education proces here is a two way street. Just for the record, I tried it and it hurt like hell!
Val, our team leader, is helped up the hill with yet another bucket of sand by our ‘client’
At the peak there were nearly 40 people working on the project. The women from the village organised a mass catering programme. They produced vast tubs of ‘Seema’ a corn based semolina type food served with meat and cabbage that filled you up quicker then a Big Mac Double Cheese Burger with extra fries.
Zawadi and some of the community leaders that nominated her for participation in the programme
Not everything went smoothly. Sister catches a moment of reflection having just defused another potential crisis.
Zawadi’s uncle and guardian remained a calm dignified presence throughout the build, including the day when his boss threatened to fire him if he took a day off work.
Zawadi’s aunt and her cousins do their best to carry on as normal in spite of the fact that we have demolished half of their house to make way for the new one. Worth remembering this next time we moan about ‘having the builder in’
In spite of my ‘minor cultural incident’ we did mange to get the water flowing across the valley – until the electricity running the pumps that feed the tank that connected to the tap went off. In an attempt to win back some credibility with my team I carry some five litre containers of water … Continue reading
No shortage of volunteers to support Biggs’ Great Water Project! They really, really really did insist on carrying the materials. Honest.
Any thoughts that church may not be fully engaged in the nitty gritty realties facing the community were rapidly dispelled as Sister Veronica put on a fabulous ‘mudding’ display.
The ‘mudding’ begins as evidence emerges that ‘builder’s bum’ is not exclusively a western issue.
Now that is clever….
and that is just showing off!
Just when we thought we were getting nowhere the roof was on and the walls were well on the way to being fully muddied.
Check out the looks on the faces of the local team as they speculate on the arrival of the ‘Mad Dogs’ to complete the scene.
Well, almost. A small group returned the following day to add the finishing touches.
Sister Veronica tells me she can build another house for one of her orphans if we can raise $2,000. If you would like to make an anonymous donation to support the people we are working with, please CLICK HERE Thank you